The Arkansas Razorbacks head to Tennessee to take on the No. 9 Volunteers in an SEC matchup on Wednesday night. Tipoff for this game is scheduled for 7 pm ET at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.
Arkansas comes into this game 9-1, while Tennessee is 7-1. Both teams suffered their first losses on Saturday.
Both of these teams are sitting in the middle of the SEC as conference play is getting underway. This game will be a true test for teams off to hot starts.
This should be a close contest and exciting for all fans as well as those doing online betting on the game.
Can Razorbacks replace Smith?
The Razorbacks are dealing with the loss of a senior leader, guard Justin Smith, who had ankle surgery and will be out 4-6 weeks. The Indiana transfer was averaging 11.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
The leading scorer for Arkansas has been freshman guard Moses Moody. In 10 games, he is averaging 16.9 points on 46% shooting from the field. Moody has found his stroke from the 3-point line as well, shooting 42%.
If the Razorbacks are going to find a way to make some college basketball news with a win in Knoxville, they will need a major contribution from forward Connor Vanover. He is averaging nine points and seven rebounds per game.
But going up against a team that does not have much size or rim protection, the Razorbacks will look for more production out of Vanover.
Can a top defense get the job done?
The Volunteers have the second-best defense in the country, something that will be key to their drive to NCAA March Madness. Giving up just 55 points per game, Tennessee will look to bounce back after surrendering 71 to Alabama.
Tennessee is led by junior guard Victor Bailey Jr. Bailey is averaging 13 points per game on 47.5% shooting from the field. He has also been impressive from the free-throw line, shooting 89.5%.
Another key contributor is guard Josiah-Jordan James. Averaging eight points, six rebounds, and 2.8 assists, James is a player who has the skillset to help the team in all aspects of the game.
The Volunteers will need another big game out of forward Santiago Vescovi. In the Vols’ loss to Alabama, Vescovi was able to have one of his better performances, contributing 13 points and four rebounds.
Razorbacks vs Volunteers Betting Odds and Lines
The Volunteers are 7½-point favorites in this one, with the over/under set at 142.5.
Arkansas comes into this contest 5-3-1 against the spread. This will be the first time that Arkansas is not the favorite. This will also only be Arkansas’ third road game, having gone 1-1 against the spread away from home previously.
Tennessee, 6-2 against the spread, has had its two spreads not be covered when it played at home. The Volunteers are 2-6 in the over/under, which is to be expected when the defense is as good as theirs.
These teams have matched up 43 times in the rivalry’s history, and the Volunteers hold a slight edge 22-21. These two teams always seem to have good competitive games with each other.
The Razorbacks will have to find a way to get over the loss of Smith and get points up against a stout defense. Arkansas is hoping it does not have a repeat of last season when guard Isaiah Joe went down with a knee injury and the Razorbacks lost their next five games.
If Tennessee finds a way to stop Vanover, it has enough depth at the guard position to keep fresh legs on Moody. This will be a big game for the ninth-ranked Volunteers to see how they will respond after a tough loss.
The pick here is to take the Volunteers -7½ when you make your college basketball picks.